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"Wernicke encephalopathy and Korsakoff syndrome are different conditions. Both are due to brain damage caused by a lack of vitamin B1. Lack of vitamin B1 is common in people with alcoholism. It is also common in persons whose bodies do not absorb food properly, as sometimes occurs with a chronic illness or after obesity surgery.


Korsakoff syndrome, or Korsakoff psychosis, tends to develop as Wernicke symptoms go away. Wernicke encephalopathy causes brain damage in lower parts of the brain called the thalamus and hypothalamus. Korsakoff psychosis results from permanent damage to areas of the brain involved with memory.


Symptoms of Wernicke encephalopathy [Dementia] include: Confusion and loss of mental activity that can progress to coma and death; loss of muscle coordination that can cause leg tremor; vision changes such as abnormal eye movements; double vision; eyelid drooping; alcohol withdrawal; inability to form new memories; loss of memory can be severe; making up stories; seeing or hearing things that are not really there.


Other conditions that may cause vitamin B1 deficiency include: AIDS, cancers that have spread throughout the body, extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, heart failure, long periods of intravenous (IV) therapy without receiving thiamine supplements, long-term dialysis, very high thyroid hormone levels."


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